VIOLA DORENE LABERGE April 16, 1927 – May 4, 2018
Viola passed away on May 4th, following a fall in her home in Los Alamos, NM.
She is preceded in death by her parents Lucy and Roy Drevland, brothers Roy and Eldin, sisters Doris and Edith, the absolute love of her Life Johnny LaBerge and her son Ron.
She is survived by her sister Alice Hallowell, children David (Bea) LaBerge, Linda LaBerge Maes, Janine LaBerge, grandchildren Bryan (Allyson) LaBerge, Craig (JR) LaBerge-Esparza, Angela (Jeremy) Hasted, Marisa Maes (Mark Franzen), great grandchildren Ezra Maes, Kaitlyn LaBerge, Kristian Whyte, John Hasted, Cyrus LaBerge, Dax Franzen, and of course Luanne Brush Buden, Frank Maes and Christina Snyder who have remained dear members of Viola’s extended family.
Viola was a loving mother, an adoring grandmother, and a passionate great grandmother. She leaves behind many nieces, nephews and many loyal and heartfelt friends.
She arrived in New Mexico on April 16, 1947, at the age of 20. She left her home in Cook, Minnesota to take a job as a telephone operator at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She was recruited by Bob LaBerge – John’s brother – But we all know it was the heart that pulled a shy farm girl from the farms of northern Minnesota to a secret town in the remote high desert mountains of New Mexico.
Johnny and Vi were married on January 23, 1948 – theirs was a true love story. Viola’s capacity for love was matched only by her Viking heritage of LOYALTY. Once you were Viola’s friend you were held in her heart forever.
She was a proud Norwegian and as such her fire and conviction was evident in everything she did. As a parent of four children she worked as a waitress happily for many years enjoying the community and friendship of regular patrons. She was a student pilot in 1949 and received a pilot’s license. She was a cub scout den mother for both Dave and Ron and many others.
Her tales of being a young couple in the Los Alamos post-war development included stories of getting a “whizzy wagon” from the community car rental, and taking evening drives to Albuquerque for milkshakes with Johnny.
She was an intrepid and stoic wife who actively participated in camping and fishing trips – although we have no tales of “Great Fish”, we know she could clean a dozen trout in the blink of an eye.
She helped build the family home and her stories of installing bathroom tile and texturing drywall have inspired home renovation in family members.
Viola was the quintessential Avon Lady – spunky and creative in all her life pursuits. As a young woman she created handmade hats – as hats for women were popular in the early 50’s. Her Creations were labeled “BY VI”. She made multiple crocheted and knitted blankets. She loved arts and crafts in general and never would ever be called bland or dull.
Viola was a treasured member of her beloved Bethlehem Lutheran Church, a faith and fellowship whom she relied on in times of great sorrow and abundant joy.
Viola was a courageous, strong woman, and tough as nails. Enduring breast cancer, diabetes, arthritis and being undeterred by repeated TIAs – she met her end by her own actions. Ever the independent woman she fell from a step ladder and suffered a fatal spinal cord injury. She was able to say goodbye to the family who loved her dearly. Viola left this life at 4 a.m., Friday, May the Fourth….
Into Valhalla my brave Viking warrior mother. Your courage and grace will bravely lead your descendants for generations to come.
Services will be at the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Los Alamos on Saturday, May 12th, at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, please go forth and do something nice for someone you love.